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|Super U's to get back on the right track at the LCI Rail stadium|
at 20:30 15 Sep 2017
JM takes his rejuvenated squad to the LCI Rail Stadium to play Cheltenham Town on Saturday. Gary Johnson’s team lie below the Super U’s in the table and it was last season when a 3-0 away win against the Robins started the U’s successful run of results.
The U’s have been buoyed by a haul of 4 points from the last two home games and also by the excellent news that Kurtis Guthrie is training again on his road to recovery. Sean Murray is also on his way back together with Doug Sicknote Loft.
The Robins lost narrowly at Newport midweek and have faced criticism from their supporters for a lack lustre start which Johnson is keen to address.
Make no mistake this is a great opportunity for the U’s to get their away points tally up and running and they should play with confidence.
JM is also beginning to see some positive performances from his new loan signings. Ryan Inniss the pick of the signings with Brandon Comley impressing in midfield and Nicke Kabamba and Brandon Hanlan showing promise. Sanmi Odelusi may also start to improve for his new club.
JM is likely to pick a side something along these lines in a 3,4,1,2 formation:
Eastman Inniss James
Jackson Lapslie Comley Vincent-Young
Gilmartin Kinsella Kpekawa Wright (Drey) Hanlan Odelusi Wright (Diaz)
The weather in Cheltenham is likely to be mainly cloudy and 15 degrees.
The whole team will look forward to Guthrie’s return in due course. It was after all his rant against the management, players and the boo boys that started the U’s revival.
Safe journey to the traveling faithful.
Enjoy the game.
Up the U’s
|Prediction||Prediction Logged by at 20:17:02|
Colchester United v Chesterfield prediction logged
|Super U's to see off the Spireites at Fortress Weston|
at 20:16 11 Sep 2017
The super U’s welcome the Spireites to the Fortress tomorrow evening. Buoyed by a welcome 3-1 victory against a decent Crawley side, JM looks to make it back to back victories against Chesterfield on Tuesday evening.
The forecast is for strong winds and heavy rain (mainly in the midlands and north) but I suspect that the South-East corner of England will miss most of the really inclement stuff.
Now the U’s must guard against any complacency. Chesterfield have started poorly and were the latest team to suffer at the hands of a resurgent Chris Porter for the Railwaymen on Saturday afternoon. Somewhat bullishly the Spireite keeper Tommy Lee has stated that they are looking to kick start their season with a 1-0 win at the WHCS.
Under pressure Manager Gary Caldwell will certainly be looking to halt their slide down the table, whilst JM must be considering that Tuesday night and the game at Whaddon Road could add a further six points to the U’s promotion campaign.
I read today that the U’s have scored 52 goals at home in their last 26 games, a very creditable haul.
If only we didn’t suffer from travel sickness.
Saturday gave the faithful their opportunity to see Ryan Inniss start along with Brandon Comley and Nicke Kabamba. All three played their part in a good victory.
JM lined up 3-5-2 and he may well go with a similar starting XI and formation for the Chesterfield basement dwellers.
Perhaps tweaked to say a 3,4,1,2 formation as follows:
Eastman Kent Inniss
Jackson Lapslie Comley Kinsella
Wright Hanlan Vincent-Young O’Sullivan Odelusi, Gilmartin, James
The usual players with long term injuries continue to be out, but disturbingly Sean Murray has joined Kyel Reid with a troublesome injury. There is no word on Cole Kpekawa either. If Frankie Kent has not recovered sufficiently from his knock on Saturday Cameron James would simply take his place.
Let us hope that the faithful can muster 3,000 to see the U’s continue to climb the table.
Safe journey and enjoy the game.
Up the U’s
|Prediction||Prediction Logged by at 20:51:21|
Colchester United v Crawley Town prediction logged
|Tomorrow for the Super U's is all about the three points!|
at 20:49 8 Sep 2017
The Super U’s start a home double header on Saturday against their bogey (or one of them!) side Crawley Town.
The Reds are managed by Harry Kewell and after a shaky start they have started to show some form with back to back victories against Swindon and Yeovil, without conceding a goal. More worryingly we have yet to register a win against them in nine attempts.
Now much is being made about our poor away form and excellent home form. This should be forgotten and quickly. No side has a divine right to win at home and we will have to work supremely hard against Crawley to pick up the three points. There can be no complacency, quite the reverse because we have started the season poorly make no mistake. FGR were despatched 5-1 but they are everyone’s whipping boys this season. It is the type of game that we have on Saturday which will define our season.
Kewell rightly is effusive in his praise for a team that has just secured 6 points and in Jordan Roberts they have a striker who not only knows where the net is, but also finishes clinically. They have also signed promising left sided youngster Josh Doherty from Watford.
Now the suggestion is that JM could freshen up the team on Saturday. I do not think that he will make wholesale changes but I would like to see two of the new signings (Comley and Kabamba) make their debuts for the U’s.
Now when we played Crawley at home in February of this year we had 12 players out injured. 7 months on and the list is mounting up again.
The four best players Guthrie, Dickenson, Prosser and Slater have been joined on the treatment table by Kyel Reid and new loanee Ryan Inniss, Courtney Senior, Tariq Issa and Doug (sicknote) Loft.
JM does at least know that he has three dependable players in defence to support Sam Walker, midfield should be strengthened with the inclusion of Brandon Comley, whilst I think that Mikael Mandron should be dropped in favour of Nicke Kabamba. Let us see how radical JM is in his team selection tomorrow:
Will he go 3,4,3 as follows:
Eastman Kent Kinsella
Vincent-Young Lapslie Murray Comley
Szmodics Kabamba Wright
Gilmartin James Jackson Odelusi Mandron Hanlan McKeown
The weather has been wet in the South East of England and although 17 degrees and sunny intervals are forecast for Colchester tomorrow, precipitation is forecast to be 90%.
The faithful would take any victory but Colchester must be out of the traps early doors in order to take the game to a resurgent Crawley side.
Enjoy the game, safe journey and get behind the team.
Up the U’s
|Prediction||Prediction Logged by at 17:55:33|
Cambridge United v Colchester United prediction logged
|Super CUFC to prevail against CUFC at the Cambs Glass Stadium|
at 17:24 1 Sep 2017
The Super U’s have enjoyed an excellent week. Their first maximum of the season with a 5-1 drubbing of new kids on the block the FGR. Then an impressive 2-2 draw and 6-5 penalty success against the Reading U21 team. Incredibly they then signed five players on transfer deadline day; four on loan until Jan and a season long loan for the fifth.
We are of course limited to 5 loanees in the team at any one time.
No wonder more than 600 tickets have been sold for the local derby against Cambridge United on Saturday. The faithful are looking forward to the U’s improved form continuing at the Cambs glass stadium tomorrow.
Recent signings in a hectic transfer campaign:
Nicke Kabamba, a 24-year-old striker from Pompey
Ryan Inniss, a 22-year-old 6ft 5in defender from Palace
Sanmi Odelusi, a free agent from Wigan 24 years of age and a striker
Brandon Hanlan, a 20-year-old striker from Charlton
Brandon Comley, a 21-year-old midfielder from QPR
Apart from Odelusi who has been training with the U’s for the last two weeks, the other new arrivals have only had less than 48 hours with their teammates, it is doubtful therefore how many of them will play at Cambridge.
JM now has plenty of choice to be able to ring the changes whilst the four-long term injured continue their recovery process; Craig Slater, Kurtis Guthrie, Brennan Dickenson and Luke Prosser.
This means that a choice of 18 of the following squad members are available to JM for the short journey to Cambridge:
Kent, Eastman, James, Inniss, Kinsella, Kpekawa
Vincent-Young, Murray, Lapslie, Reid, Comley, Jackson, O’Sullivan, Wright (Drey and Diaz) Edge
Szmodics, Senior, Issa, Kabamba, Odelusi, Hanlan, McKeown, Mandron
JM will be keen to play his strongest XI (as we are aware of at the moment until the new players have been given an opportunity to shine) which means a return to the goalkeeping spot for Sam Walker after Rene Gilmartin’s heroics against the Royals.
JM actually has a problem (but a nice one) with his selection, Reid surely must start, but can he leave Drey Wright out of the starting team.
Sam Walker is an easy decision to make and Kane Vincent-Young has forced himself into the starting XI, his goal against FGR was simply superb. Tom Eastman and Frankie Kent are the preferred twin defenders and Lewis Kinsella is the best left back.
Midfield needed strengthening and Brandon Comley appears to have been brought in to do just that to work alongside Sean Murray. Can he play Ryan Jackson or ignore him for Sammy Szmodics to play just behind the improving Mandron and Odelusi.
Therefore, he will need to decide on a formation and his starting XI which is likely to look something like this in a 4,3,1,2 formation:
Vincent-Young Eastman Kent Kinsella
Murray Comley Reid
Gilmartin, Inniss, Jackson, O’Sullivan, Wright, Hanlan, Kabamba
Cambridge under Shaun Derry have started sluggishly and are vulnerable at home. Jabo Ibehre may only get 30 minutes, but is dangerous as his cameo for Carlisle against us last season proved.
As stated earlier the faithful will be present in good number and voice. The Super U’s have kickstarted their season and are looking to push on with another positive performance at Cambridge.
Travel safely, enjoy the game.
Up the U’s
|Super U's to edge a right Royal affair at the WHCS|
at 17:41 29 Aug 2017
JM buoyed by the Super U’s inspirational performance on Saturday against FRG entertain Reading U21’s in the much maligned and discredited Cup Competition, the Checkatrade Trophy.
Still it is a day out at Wembley for the finalists!
After the Royals, we play Gillingham at the WHCS and then Southend at Roots Hall.
Now interestingly Peterborough have already expressed their desire to win the competition, so it will be interesting to see how the Super U’s set up for their first fixture tonight.
The rules this season state that four outfield players must have started the previous or following league game and the new ABBA style of penalty taking will also come into play if scores are level at 90 mins, but whilst many sides will rest players, JM does not have much flexibility to do the same.
It does however give the WHCS faithful the chance to see the U’s Goalkeeping coach Rene Gilmartin between the sticks and to change things up a bit. Will JM be bold enough to play such a youthful team to match the Royals.
Vincent-Young Kent James Kinsella
Edge Murray O’Sullivan Kpekawa
Walker Lapslie Loft Szmodics Mandron Eastman Wright
The attendance will be under 1000 but hopefully it should be an entertaining game.
Up the Super U’s
|Prediction||Prediction Logged by at 21:34:06|
Colchester United v Forest Green Rovers prediction logged
|Green Devils to be sent packing at the WHCS by Super U's|
at 21:31 25 Aug 2017
JM and his beleaguered charges host Forest Green Rovers at the WHCS on Saturday. This will be the first time that the Super U’s have met the Green Devils and although it is early in the season this match is already a must not lose game.
The U’s wretched start has become a regular event in recent seasons and is a pointer towards our downward spiral as a Football Club. The club has allowed the fact that we narrowly missed out on a play-off place last season to let complacency creep into our approach to this season’s games.
The performance at Accrington was simply shocking, Aston Villa saw an improved performance even though we managed a goalkeeping howler, an own goal and a missed penalty. Stevenage were allowed to leave the WHCS with a point when normally they would go home pointless and all the old failings returned at Luton where we were comprehensively defeated.
Forest Green Rovers with Mark Cooper and Scott Lindsey at the helm arrive buoyed by a 4-3 win against the Glovers last weekend. New defender Mark Roberts is in the squad and they boast no injuries to contend with.
Accrington Stanley have shown their intent with another striker signed, this time promising youngster Mallik Wilks from Leeds United.
Colchester this week have off loaded Denny Johnstone on a season long loan to St Johnstone.
Our wafer-thin strike force is now even more depleted and the injuries continue to mount up.
Craig Slater, Kyel Reid and Ryan Jackson join long term absentees Kurtis Guthrie, Brennan Dickenson and Luke Prosser while Cole Kpekawa also appears to be injured.
JM has announced that with Johnstone gone the search for a striker will be easier and let us hope so because we have watched strikers go to prosper elsewhere notably Porter and Bonne whilst no replacements have been forthcoming. I remain convinced that the Bonne departure was a grave mistake.
The current fit squad looks a little like this:
Walker, Kinsella, Lapslie, Kent, Wright, Loft, Szmodics, Murray, Eastman, Mandron, Vincent-Young, O’Sullivan, Gilmartin, Issa, James, Edge, Diaz Wright and Senior.
Essentially only 18 players with 7 more injured.
The squad is young and is lacking much needed experience in many positions but particularly in the midfield and striking departments.
JM played 5 at the back at Luton and frankly it was a mistake. If three at the back are supported by wing backs then they must be prepared to go forward otherwise an already overstretched midfield and powder puff strike force will never impose themselves on the opposition.
One bad season this year in our 80th year as a Football Club and we will be down in the non-League ranks as sure as eggs are eggs.
JM has few options as identified earlier and so his likely team must be based upon the following in a 3,4,2,1 formation:
Eastman Kent James
Vincent-Young Murray Lapslie Kinsella
Subs: Gilmartin, Loft, O’Sullivan, Issa, Senior, Diaz Wright, Edge
As you can see the squad is paper thin, and there are very few options on the bench.
JM must secure a midfield player and striker this week, preferably experienced players.
It goes without saying that further injuries cannot be contemplated.
Try and enjoy the game, it will be interesting to see the attendance tomorrow.
Keep the faith
Up the U’s
|Prediction||Prediction Logged by at 12:01:11|
Luton Town v Colchester United prediction logged
|Hatters to be sartorially challenged by JM's blue and white Army today |
at 12:00 19 Aug 2017
In yet another horrific terrorist atrocity in Catalonia this week, football has been put well and truly into perspective. Our thoughts go out to those affected by these outrages.
Meanwhile JM takes his walking wounded players to Kenilworth Road Luton to do battle with Nathan Jones’ Hatters on Saturday afternoon.
Before we establish the latest casualties at the WHCS, Luton themselves have injury concerns with Cuthbert and D’ath out and Isaac Vassal sold this week to Birmingham City whilst Craig Mackail-Smith has gone to Wycombe Wanderers. The good news for Jones is that striker Danny Hylton and defender James Justin will be available for selection against the super U’s.
Now it is evident that JM has walked under more ladders than you can shake a stick at and run over more black cats than there are Sunderland fans, such are the injury woes to befall the Super U’s.
The latest of these is loanee Kyel Reid who has injured his ankle and will miss today’s game. Cole Kpekawa is also injured and another promising youngster Dion Sembie-Ferris has been allowed to leave the U’s.
Long term injuries Luke Prosser, Kurtis Guthrie and Ben Dickenson will all be out for some weeks and possibly months yet. However, sicknote Doug Loft is back (at least for one game).
Kurtis Guthrie has been spending time at St George’s Park as part of his rehabilitation (Walker and Wright also spent time at the England HQ whilst they were recovering from long term injuries).
Colchester have also offered renewed contracts to five of their star names – Dickenson, Guthrie, Kent, Lapslie and Wright. Updates required on these five soonest.
Denny Johnstone is apparently wanted by Dundee and may wish to return north of the Border, we will have to wait and see.
JM may select the following side today 3,4,2,1:
Eastman James Kent
Jackson Lapslie Murray Kinsella
Gilmartin, Vincent-Young, O’Sullivan, Issa, Loft, Slater, Johnstone
Safe journey to the travelling faithful to the Oak Road away end at Luton Town.
JM will of course remind his charges that last season we did a historic double over the Hatters and despite their crackerjack start against Yeovil, Luton lost narrowly at Barnet last week.
Some boarders are already drinking from the half empty glass, but I say keep the faith and support the U’s at this time.
Early days I know, but it is important to pick up points from each game and the super U’s will be looking to obtain their first maximum of the season.
In other news Billy Kee has been charged with GBH for an alleged incident in a Leicester nightclub earlier this year, probably best that the U's continue to ignore my suggestions that he should sign for the U's!!!!!!!!.
Enjoy the game.
Up the U’s
[Post edited 19 Aug 12:09]
|Super U's entertain Stevenage at fortress WHCS this weekend|
at 21:37 11 Aug 2017
After a much-improved display in the televised Cup Tie against Aston Villa, JM will be looking to secure the Super U’s first league points of the season at home to Darren Sarll’s Stevenage Borough.
Last Saturday the U’s were woeful at times, on Wednesday they earned some much-needed plaudits against a very good Villa team. The pitch was superb given the weather conditions and much credit goes to the club for deploying the covers during the day and to David Blacknall for preparing such a good surface which neither team objected to given the conditions.
Now I believe that JM missed a trick in not playing Gilmartin on Wednesday. Walker did not have the best of games at Accrington and he was badly at fault with the first Villa goal. Gilmartin should have played to leave Walker to look after the league programme.
Despite his horrible penalty miss Mandron played well again, but must convert chances into goals. Frankie Kent was unlucky with the own goal and more than redeemed himself with a smart deflection from Kyel Reid’s initial shot. Sammie Szmodics could have taken the game into extra time but for Steer’s excellent fingertip save.
It was good to see the U’s on TV and the £75,000 fee plus decent gate of 6,603 (incl 1,559 Villa) will have swelled the coffers somewhat.
JM is unlikely to make any changes from Wednesday. Kyel Reid was very impressive and more so when played as an out and out winger rather than having to solely play wing back.
Thrillseeker has criticised the fact that I keep leaving Marmite out of the starting XI and so he is included in midfield. That means that Craig Slater is on the bench (again) but JM must find a way to include perhaps all three in the team but mindful of the fact that the back three is very popular and allows wing backs to be deployed particularly at home.
Prosser, Eastman, Dickenson and Guthrie will all certainly return to the team in due course and so the problems will mount up for team selection. That debate is for another day however.
Team 3,4,1,2 v Stevenage
James Kent Kpekawa
Jackson Lapslie Murray Reid
Gilmartin, Vincent-Young O’Sullivan Slater Kinsella Issa Johnstone
Stevenage too have had their injury problems but Sarll will be welcoming Godden back into the starting XI and he is a dangerous opponent.
The weather is set fair in North Essex which will be a welcome relief for all concerned and will mean that our good home from can continue unabated.
The U’s will need three valuable points tomorrow, with the next three league games involving Luton, Forest Green and Cambridge all looking tough on paper.
Enjoy the game. Keep the faith.
Up the Super U’s
|Super U's v Aston Villa at the WHCS and on the box!|
at 13:17 9 Aug 2017
After Saturday’s considerable disappointment JM is able to pit his youthful side against one of the fancied Championship sides in Aston Villa at the WHCS in the first Round of the Carabao Cup.
I went to the Quarter Final Tie at Layer Road in 1974 when we narrowly lost 2-1 to a very good Villa team. Tonight, will be equally tough, but Steve, Bruce if he is honest, is more concerned about challenging for a promotion spot than thinking of winning the league Cup.
First a word about last Saturday. I do not intend to repeat my post-match thoughts but I do feel that a comment is due after the Chairman’s “Great Expectations” piece on the official club site.
He considered the club’s aims as opposed to their expectations. The reality is that Colchester’s playing budget in financial terms is 78th out of the 92 league clubs and that we are averaging a finishing position of 56th out of the 92 sides. However, we are actually averaging a finishing position of 56th out of 72 EFL clubs in League Two.
Let us stop all this punching above our weight nonsense and thinking that the fans have unreasonable expectation of success. We are entitled to our views and after 46 years of supporting the U’s, I have witnessed every high and every low during that time. Promotions, Relegations, Cup victories, the Conference, the Championship, Layer Road and the WHCS. The fact remains that over the past 8 years we have been declining as a football club. League Two is not acceptable to the fans and neither should it be to the Manager, Directors or Chairman of the Club. There is too much focus on settling for what we have and we desperately need to advance as a club, not continue to stagnate.
A word also on the boo boys, the majority of whom were teenagers and they stood just behind the goal about 5 yards from where I was standing at Accrington. Most of the abuse was banal rubbish and language born out of frustration with the scoreline. I did not witness the personal attacks on JM or his family. Such behaviour however is unacceptable and cannot be condoned by either the club or true supporters.
Football is a results based sport and this boo boy culture sadly is present at every level and manifests itself at the Emirates or Victoria Park equally, the only difference is the number of protagonists. What we have largely eliminated (thank goodness) are the shocking scenes of the 70s and 80s, where fighting and much worse was prevalent inside and outside the grounds before, during and after the game.
Returning to the Super U’s and without wishing to adopt too negative a stance, I think that perhaps Bleak House rather than Great Expectations is a more apposite Dickensian theme for the Chairman’s comments.
Saturday’s shocking performance was perhaps put more sharply into focus last night when Accrington Stanley saw off PNE at the Wham Stadium, with my" favourite" Billy Kee scoring a 93rd minute winner.
Tonight, the players have the chance to restore some much needed faith with an improved performance against Steve Bruce’s Villa. They drew at the weekend against Hull City at Villa Park. Bruce will make changes tonight but they will still be a strong team roared on by 2,000 of their faithful in 7,500 crowd.
They could line up 4,4,1,1 something like this:
Bree Samba Chester Taylor
Bjarnason Onomah Hourihane Green
After the shock of losing Alex Wynter to Maidstone United on the eve of the football season, it was not long before Tom Eastman was injured and I do not expect to see him this evening.
JM will have to reconfigure the side slightly in the light of Eastman’s injury. He has moved quickly to bring in Kyel Reid from Coventry City on loan whilst Dickenson is still out injured. The Coventry trolls have been vitriolic in their criticism of Reid which suggests that he will be a good acquisition for the U’s. At 29 years of age he has plenty of pace and tricks at his disposal and JM should play him this evening on the left wing.
Big Sam Walker did not have one of better games on Saturday (few did) and I wonder whether Rene Gilmartin may deputise this evening for the Cup game. Walker was ever present for all 46 league games last year and I am sure that will be the case this season, but let us see what the new Goalkeeping coach can do this evening.
Assuming that Kent is fit he will play alongside Cameron James with Cole Kpekawa alongside him.
Three in midfield including Jackson suggests Murray and Slater with Szmodics behind Wright, Mandron and Reid up front.
Something like this in a 3,3,1,3 formation:
Kent James Kpekawa
Jackson Murray Slater
Wright Mandron Reid
Walker, Vincent-Young, O’Sullivan, Johnstone, Kinsella, Issa, Lapslie
The weather in the south east and East Anglia is likely to be very wet today and so as a precaution covers have been applied to the playing surface. Durham (the place) has grown accustomed to sunshine and showers or longer outbreaks of rain and so I sympathise if it is torrential rain today in Colchester. Hopefully the evening may see brighter weather so that the scenes at Grimsby last night are not repeated in North Essex.
During the second half on Saturday we moved the ball forward well and Szmodics made all the difference up front with Wright and Mandron. Reid’s pace should create opportunities for the tall Frenchman.
A big crowd, television cameras, interesting pitch and nothing to lose should make for more entertaining fare than that served up at the Wham stadium on Saturday.
Enjoy the game and let’s see if the Super U’s can be the Villains of the piece tonight.
Up the U’s
at 21:52 8 Aug 2017
Billy Kee scored a 93rd minute winner for Accrington against PNE.
Big George scored the third goal for Orient in a 3-1 win.
Never mind the real action is tomorrow night.
Up the U's
|Vast improvement needed next time out after poor defeat at Accrington|
at 21:14 6 Aug 2017
Accrington Stanley away - shades of deja vu all over again, another dismal performance and another dismal result!
Very few players earned any credit from this fiasco and Accrington fully deserved their victory. But let us start from the beginning. A warm summer's day in Accrington, a pristine, well-watered pitch and the faithful present in number, 329 to be exact. Everything was well set for an away win but Colchester’s players had not read the script.
Sadly, Wessex was adversely affected by the M5 and M6 gremlins and had to turn around at Junction 14 but he probably had the better afternoon.
JM lined up his charges thus:
Eastman Kent James
Jackson Lapslie Murray Slater Wright
Gilmartin Vincent-Young O’Sullivan Issa Kpekawa Szmodics Kinsella
Surprisingly JM elected to leave Szmodics out of the starting XI and played Wright as a defensive left sided wing back.
The strong wind seemed to aid Accrington whilst causing our defence considerable problems particularly in the first half.
The excellent support from the faithful numerically speaking was not matched by the noise which was strangely subdued throughout.
The Super U’s could have been a goal to the good in the very first minute but Drey Wright’s attempted finish went horribly wide with the goal gaping. Then on 6 minutes a smart move and through ball from Johnstone to Jackson saw the U’s newcomer galloping away down the right wing, he elected to shoot and Chapman smothered the effort with his legs.
The U’s paid for this profligacy when the home side scored on 9 minutes with their first effort on goal – Billy Kee turned smartly, played the ball to McConville and he played a superb ball to Jackson who slipped the ball between the onrushing Walker’s legs.
Craig Slater then missed a great chance to equalise on 15 minutes when he shot wide of the goal. Slater then attempted to clear the ball and it was intercepted on the edge of the penalty area by the by-line. The ball was pulled back to Billy Kee with the defence all at sea and he placed the ball in the corner of the net through a number of bodies. 2-0 to the home team and the faithful were restless.
Mikael Mandron looks very similar to Kurtis Guthrie but although tall and mobile he lacks strength in the challenge and was often dispossessed by the excellent Beckles and Richards-Everton for Accrington.
Ryan Jackson has a very good and accurate long throw and he used this to good effect on four occasions in the first half. Each time the ball was not dealt with by their defence but we couldn’t turn the ball home.
Our first injury of the season occurred on 38 minutes when Tom Eastman fell awkwardly on his ankle and after attempting to carry out was forced off and was replaced by Cole Kpekawa.
In truth, it was very similar to our last visit to Accrington when we were also 2-0 down at half time.
A small element of the faithful booed the players off.
The halftime cheeseburger and tea (£6) was devoured in the warm sunshine. The burger was actually better than last season and the tea was wet and warm.
The U’s made two substitutions with Szmodics and Kinsella introduced at half time for Johnstone and Slater respectively.
It was Sammy Szmodics who was also guilty of missing a sitter he was through on goal in front of the faithful and elected to side foot but his shot went wide of the goal when he should have reduced the arrears. In fact, the first ten minutes of the second half saw far more attacking intent from the U’s.
Lewis Kinsella looked stronger down the left flank and this allowed Drey Wright to play further forward whilst Mandron and Szmodics combined well.
Concern about the defence particularly Frankie Kent who didn’t seem fully fit to me and his link up with Cameron James often left the defence exposed and although the loss of Eastman was disappointing Kpekawa slotted it very well.
Sean Murray (just as last season) worked tirelessly and constructively in midfield but I felt that Lapslie was struggling.
On 64 minutes, the game was over as a contest. Beckles was allowed the freedom of the U’s penalty area and he stroked the ball home to make it 3-0. Strangely the U’s kept battling and Accrington seemed nervous despite their advantage.
The hard working Mandron turned and struck a shot that deflected off Chapman which allowed a grateful Szmodics to score from two yards out at the far post on 81 minutes. So, 3-1 and the faithful sensed a glimmer of hope from a nervous looking Stanley defence.
A long-range effort from Kinsella went high over the goal and that was it. Cue more boos from an element of the faithful. Now JM commented that his family members were abused verbally, but I didn’t witness such behaviour.
The frustration was obvious, the U’s did not perform and were soundly beaten by a poor Accrington side. Last season they did the double over us and we will have to play much better to avoid such ignominy this year.
So, who played well on Saturday. The truth is not many. I thought Sean Murray was our MOTM and Mandron worked hard and deserved a goal. Szmodics was a handful in the second half but spurned a great opportunity before he scored the consolation goal.
Our two best players Guthrie and Dickenson remain side-lined and we look lightweight up front.
Now Billy Kee managed another goal against the U’s to match his smart finish las time out. He is stocky and very difficult to shake off the ball. He does the simple things very well and has proven he knows where the goal is. He must be worth signing on this season.
In the meantime, Mandron needs to work in the gym on his physique in order to counter the uncompromising defenders that he will come up against in League Two. He has potential and will score goals but he can only do so by “putting it about a bit” if you forgive the expression.
Overall a bad performance and result. Accrington play Yeovil away next and could be top next weekend. That would be shocking but it shows how wide open this league really is.
I met Mat Hudson before the game and he told me that over 5,500 tickets have been sold for the Villa game. We can expect about 7,000 on Wednesday evening.
A vast improvement in form is required in order to put on a good show and then to start with a league victory against Stevenage on the Saturday.
Fortunately, we only have to play Accrington twice because we seem incapable of winning against them.
Up the U’s
|Super U's to start season strongly at the Wham stadium!|
at 11:29 2 Aug 2017
Colchester United celebrate 80 years (1937-2017) this season. Exciting times ahead and with the promise of a strong campaign to build upon last season.
The Summer has seen considerable arrivals and departures.
We have bid farewell to Chris Porter (Crewe), George Elokobi (Orient), Richard Brindley (Barnet), Dean Brill, Matt Briggs, Lloyd Doyley and last but by no means least Macca Bonne to Orient.
Opinion is divided on Bonne’s departure. I am firmly of the belief that he was never given a real opportunity at the club and that his face simply didn’t fit. I will maintain a Bonne watch this season and anticipate that he will score 20 league goals for Orient.
On the arrivals front we have Ryan Jackson from Gillingham, Rene Gilmartin from Watford, Cole Kpekawa from Barnsley and Mikael Mandron from Wigan.
It is the ongoing injury situation that fills me with the most regret. Frankie Kent, Kurtis Guthrie and Brennan Dickenson are huge misses for the Super U’s and we desperately need all three back. Dickenson will not be back this side of February 2018 but perhaps Kent and Guthrie will return within one month.
So, who does JM have within the squad for our first league game of the season at the Wham Stadium (the Crown ground) against Accrington Stanley.
Sam Walker, Dillon Barnes and Rene Gilmartin (also GK coach)
Tom Eastman, Alex Wynter, Cole Kpekawa, and Cameron James
MIDFIELD (including Wing backs)
Ryan Jackson, Sean Murray, Craig Slater, Lewis Kinsella, Kane Vincent-Young, Louis Dunne, Charley Edge, Tom Lapslie, Doug Loft, Tommy O’Sullivan, Diaz Wright
Denny Johnstone, Mikael Mandron, Drey Wright, Tariq Issa
Plus: Guthrie, Dickenson, Senior, Prosser and Kent when fully fit. Total 27.
JM seems to have adopted the 3,4,1,2 formation which might be more akin to 3,5,2 away from home and possibly 3,4,3 at home.
So, who might he select for the trip to Lancashire on Saturday.
Eastman Wynter Kpekawa
Jackson Murray Slater Kinsella
Barnes, James, Vincent-Young, Lapslie, O’Sullivan, Mandron, Issa
Walker as an ever-present last season will be the Number One. Eastman, Wynter and Kpekawa will have competition from both Kent and James. Jackson and Kinsella or Vincent-Young will operate as Wing backs. Can Murray and Slater play together in Midfield, the answer is yes especially with Loft injury prone. Szmodics or Lapslie can also play midfield whilst Mandron is likely to be on the bench away from home and to start at home. Of course, both Guthrie and Dickenson will be automatic choices when fit.
John Coleman’s Accrington have been tipped by some to be relegation material. They finished strongly last season and were 13th on 65 points. The 2-1 defeat at the Wham was a low point for Colchester particularly as the first 45 minutes was the worst that I saw in all my matches last season.
They have twin strikers in Billy Kee and Kayden Jackson. Kee scored against us last season, a very smart finish and I would have liked to have seen him signed for Col U during the summer break. Let us hope that he has a quiet game on Saturday.
Expectations are high for the faithful following the near miss on the Play Offs last year and with Portsmouth, Plymouth, Blackpool and Doncaster moving up a division the League Two is looking weaker this season.
Colchester’s rivals for a promotion spot must include Coventry, Lincoln, Notts Co and perhaps Forest Green Rovers.
The team will be keen to start positively especially with the attractive televised League Cup (Carabao) tie against the Villa on Wednesday.
Accrington is scheduled to have light rain showers and sunny intervals on Saturday with a high of 15 degrees c.
Safe journey to the travelling faithful.
Enjoy the game.
Up the U’s
[Post edited 2 Aug 14:06]
|Prediction||Prediction Logged by at 18:10:52|
Accrington Stanley v Colchester United prediction logged
|Ollie Watkins to Brentford |
at 20:17 20 Jul 2017
Colchester's tormentor in their 3-0 defeat against the Grecians has signed for Brentford for £1.8m.
Some clubs had considered that they might have to part with £4m so the London side will be delighted to pick the 21 year old for what looks like a bargain price.
Brentford have signalled their intent for the coming season.
Meanwhile we still need a recognised striker.
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